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Students’ study into AF testing devices

Posted: 29th October 2018

Two second year medical students have written a case study on their work to detect individuals with undiscovered atrial fibrillation (AF), including the use of mobile devices provided by Yorkshire & Humber AHSN.

Daniella Savage and Adam Goundry wrote the paper about their experiences while working at Stockwell Road GP Surgery and local care homes in Knaresborough.

The surgery is using AF mobile testing devices provided by Yorkshire & Humber AHSN through an NHS England funded project to increase detection of AF and, as a result, reduce the number of people who suffer a life-changing stroke.

Ruth Wilson, Yorkshire & Humber AHSN’s Programme Lead for Atrial Fibrillation said: “This is a great piece of work demonstrating a proactive approach to detecting and treating AF, which reduces the risk of stroke in those patients.”

AF is the most common type of irregular heart rhythm and is responsible for approximately 20 per cent of all strokes. Survivors must live with the disabling consequences and treating the condition costs the NHS over £2.2 billion each year.

One million people in the UK are known to be affected by AF and an additional 422,600 people are undiagnosed.

More than 142,000 people throughout Yorkshire and Humber are unaware they have irregular heart rhythms and of the dangers that this can pose to their health. Highly effective treatments are available that can prevent these strokes, but early detection is key.

The new mobile AF testing devices detect irregular heart rhythms quickly and easily, enabling NHS staff to refer patients for the appropriate follow up and treatment.

The national AHSN Network has identified that the spread and adoption of AF best practice across all AHSNs could make a stepped improvement in care outcomes, leading to a reduction in AF-related strokes across England.

AHSNs are distributing more than 6,000 mobile electrocardiogram (ECG) units to GP practices, pharmacies and other community settings across England. This technology detects irregular heart rhythms quickly and easily, enabling NHS staff to refer patients for the appropriate follow-up and treatment

By the end of 2019/20 we aim to have detected an additional 134,000 people with AF across England, with an additional 100,000 people with AF being newly prescribed appropriate anticoagulation therapy.

Our interventions will:

  • Prevent over 4,000 strokes.
  • Save over 1,000 lives.
  • Represent NHS cost savings of over £84 million.
  • Represent social care cost savings of over £100 million.

Click here to read Daniella and Adam’s report.